It’s no secret that behavioral health is personal. Now, some providers are taking that one step further and catering their care to a specific group of patients.
There’s been a rise in providers caring for a targeted population, including the BIPOC community, seniors, LGBTQ+ individuals and Gen Zers. These providers have prioritized tailoring programs to a particular community by hiring clinicians representative of the patients served or offering specific services, such as gender identity therapy.
Many of these providers have caught investor attention. For example, LBGTQ+ provider Folx landed $30 million in funding last year, and Gen Z women’s health company Caraway scored over $16 million.
Read on for a list of some of the most interesting behavioral health companies treating targeted patient populations.
Caring for BIPOC communities
ReKlame Health is looking to fill the behavioral health access gap for BIPOC communities by providing virtual psychiatric care.
The New York-based tech-backed provider specializes in caring for people of color and treating mental health conditions, including depression, trauma and mood disorders, as well as for substance use disorder (SUD).
Founded in 2020, its team is primarily made up of psychiatric nurse practitioners and prioritizes hiring “diverse clinical representatives of the population it serves.”
In April, the startup announced it would offer an in-home addiction medicine treatment program. Specifically, the company would be able to start offering Naltrexone LAI for people with alcohol use disorder. The hybrid model of care allows patients to access a telehealth assessment and then have a registered nurse come out to their home to administer the shot monthly.
“I am intimately familiar with the challenges Black and brown communities face in finding and accessing high quality behavioral health care, and in feeling safe, seen and heard in their relationships with care providers,” Evans Rochaste, founder and CEO of ReKlame, as well as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said in a statement.
The provider currently works with several health care payers, including Optum, United Healthcare, Oxford, Oscar, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna.
Behavioral Health Business is watching ReKlame because it is looking to expand access to care to populations that have historically faced barriers in finding behavioral health providers. In fact, only about 25% of African Americans seek mental treatment compared to 40% of white Americans, according to McLean Hospital.
Finding diverse providers has also been a challenge in the behavioral health industry. If ReKlame is able to achieve its goal of hiring a diverse and representative workforce, it could provide a road map for other providers looking to achieve the same goal.
A focus on LGBTQ+ behavioral health
Last year, tech-enabled LGBTQ+ care provider Folx launched a new behavioral health offering that caters to the unique needs of its core patient population.
Individuals using Folx’s service can access virtual talk therapy and medication management. The virtual provider can help its clients with several issues, including anxiety, depression and sleep. It also offers therapy to help its clients work through LGBTQ+-specific topics, like coming out and gender identity.
Boston-based Folx launched in 2020, focusing on caring for the LGBTQ+ population. Its other services include virtual primary care, hormone replacement therapy, PrEP and care navigation. Folx also prioritizes hiring clinicians who are representative of its patients.
In 2022, it landed $30 million in funding to launch its behavioral health offering, as well as support its business-to-business (B2B) service and other virtual care offerings.
We’re watching Folx for two reasons: first, how it tailors behavioral health programs that cater to a patient population more likely to experience behavioral health concerns.
People in the LGBTQIA+ community are twice as likely to experience a mental health condition and more than twice as likely to report hopelessness and suicidality. Still, roughly 54% of LGBTQ+ individuals who reported wanting mental health care did not receive it, according to data from the Trevor Project.
Folx’s approach could help others pinpoint the specific needs and resources of the LGBTQ+ community.
BHB is also interested in how Folx integrates its behavioral health services into its more extensive offerings. Integrated health is a large focus in the behavioral health space. Folx has a large set of virtual service offerings that cater to a specific patient population. It could become a one-stop shop for patients.
Combating the dearth of college campus providers
College can be a time of change for students. It can also be when many young adults deal with behavioral health concerns.
About 33% of college students screened positive for anxiety, and 44% screened positive for depression, according to a 2022 Health Minds Survey.
New York-based Mantra Health was designed to cater to this population specifically. Founded in 2018, the virtual health provider has raised over $34 million in funding.
Mantra’s business revolves around partnering with universities to provide services to its students.
“You have a big supply-and-demand issue when it comes to access to therapists and psychiatric prescribers on college campuses,” Ed Gaussen, co-founder and CEO of Mantra Health, previously told BHB. “So many campuses around the nation today have counseling and health centers on campus. And what’s happening there is that a lot of them are just seeing too much demand, and waitlists are getting long. Ultimately, they have to refer students out in the community.”
This is where Mantra plans to step in and be an alternative place for students to access services. Its Whole Campus Care offering provides teletherapy, telepsychiatry and 24/7 emotional support to students.
Mantra is one of many providers targeted towards the college population. Unwill, which has raised $35 million in funding, and Timely Care, which has raised $60 million in funding, also cater to the university student population.
BHB is watching Mantra and the other college-specific providers as they map out business plans for working with universities and tap into a patient population that is at an increased risk for behavioral health conditions.
Services for seniors
Texas-based Oceans Healthcare was founded nearly two decades ago with a focus on caring for the behavioral health needs of seniors.
It’s a population prime for more behavioral health resources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety spiked in the senior population. Roughly 20 million older adults have reported a behavioral health disorder since April 2020, according to the National Council on Aging. Still, fewer than 50% of those with a mental health condition or SUD get treatment.
While Oceans now cares for all patients over 18, it has a long history in caring for seniors’ specific behavioral health needs. It offers inpatient and outpatient treatment to older adults. It now has 33 locations, including 23 inpatient hospital campuses and 20 intensive outpatient programs in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Though it’s been around for a while, we’re also looking to see if Oceans has planned new expansions. The organization has a relatively new private equity investor looking to grow. In 2022, Webster Equity Partners announced its investment in Ocean.
“We’re proud of the footprint we’ve established so far, but we are nowhere near finished,” Stuart Archer, CEO of Oceans Healthcare, said in a statement about Webster’s investment. “The mental health impact of the pandemic has pushed already high demand for behavioral health services to crisis levels. This transaction allows us to expand our services and be a solution for underserved communities with decreasing or inadequate access to care. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to leverage Webster’s expertise in our industry and value their support in achieving this goal.”
BHB is closely watching Oceans to see how its partnership with Webster Equity fuels its expansion. Ocean’s history of caring for seniors could also help pave the way for others caring for this population, which has been increasing its behavioral health care needs.
A focus on Gen Z women
During the funding slump of 2023, Caraway, a new startup focused on Gen Z women’s health, managed to rake in $16.75M in Series A funding.
The New York-based provider positions itself as a comprehensive care platform that treats women’s mental health needs, as well as physical health and sexual and reproductive health. Its target population is women and individuals assigned female at birth between the ages of 18 and 29.
Caraway’s mental health care team includes psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists. Patients can go to Caraway to access care for depression, anxiety, sleep problems, medication management and other conditions. The provider also provides referrals for complex mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
It appears that Caraway is looking to expand its offerings. Its website hints that eating disorder care and in-person care are coming soon to the platform.
The organization currently offers care in 10 states across the country.
Caraway’s launch comes at a time when Gen Z as a whole is reporting poor mental health. Roughly 42% of Gen Z individuals have a diagnosed mental health condition, and 68% said that the pandemic negatively affected their mental health, according to a survey by Harmony Healthcare IT.
BHB is interested to see how Caraway will differentiate its model to treat a very specific patient population. Caraway’s approach could also be a model for other providers who are seeing more Gen Z clients, as they age out of pediatric care.